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Old Mar 31, 2008, 12:06 AM   #1
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I'm going on a trip soon, and after being disappointed with my last camera, I've decided it's time to upgrade.

I want a point and shoot but with a lot of control, I'm looking to improve my skill. Also, if it has exposure bracketing, that would be awesome. I've been wanting to get into HDR.

My price range is under $350.

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Old Mar 31, 2008, 12:39 AM   #2
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This is a very limited section of the compact market. There are just a few options that offer RAW..

The Canon G9, which barelyfits underthe border of what some (not all)would consider a "compact".Virtually the same control as a DSLR, and unfortunately, at $500, almost as much as an entry level DSLR.

Panasonic LX2- Just as much control as a DSLR, but it uses aunique 16:9 sensor. Here are some examples of RAW conversions using the included Silkypix converter, but you can also use most any converter..


This camera is selling right in the neighborhood of $350 online at reputable dealers.

The JPEG engine renders nice ISO 100 or 200 images...you justneed to be sure andset thenoise reduction controlto low. RAW files are HUGE with this camera. This is a 10 megapixel camera that yields 20 megabyte RAW files (!), but as I said, the controls are fantastic with this camera. Out shooting, there's virtually no need to go into the menu system for anything. Most any capture-related control has a switch or dial, including image ratio (it also offers 3:2 and 4:3 in addition to the native 16:9)and focus mode. Another negative is, this is almost a 2 year old model, but providing a RAW file, the images from ISO 100-400 can be as good (or bad)as you are inapplying the settings in the RAW converter.

At this late hour, I can think of no other compacts that offer RAW and stay underneath your $350 price barrier, and few othersthat offer it at all at any price.

Unfortunately, using sensors as small as what are in these type models, RAW is only going to get you so much extra image quality before you hit the image quality wall. RAW capturein these cameras isn't the sametool that RAW in a DSLR is.

If I were you, I'd look into the Canon A series.Those modelsgive you everything youare looking forwith the exception of RAW capture.

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Old Mar 31, 2008, 9:48 PM   #3
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The Canon S5 has plenty to keep you learning, and it has the auto exposure bracketing you seek. Amazon has it currently for $316. It does not have the RAW you seek, but careful ISO use should help. There are folks working on the CKDK hack to provide RAW for this camera. If you can't wait for it, consider the 6 MP S3, available for around $284. There is a RAW hack for the S3.

It isn't exactly small, but it is smaller than it's competition in the ultra-zoom department. If you search on this forum, and others, you will find it has a good sized following. Not me though, I just got a new G9 last week, but there are times when I wish I had the 12x optical.

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Old Mar 31, 2008, 10:29 PM   #4
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It is just a personal opinion, but I think that the Panasonic LX2 is a very complex and very touchy camera. It might be a bit more that you desire. The Canon S-5 suggested by Denis might indeed be the better choice. Just my personal opinion.

Sarah Joyce

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